A Future Vision for Our Greek System
The following was emailed to fraternity and sorority leaders.
Dear fraternity and sorority student leaders,
I write today to request your participation in a series of discussions to establish a new level of clarity and future vision for our Greek system.
As I mentioned in my letter in January, I am supportive of Greek life on our campus and look forward to the opportunity to work together to make it better. Our fraternities and sororities make exemplary contributions to our community by supporting academic excellence; deep friendships and community bonds; a commitment to philanthropy and advancing the social good; and opportunities for leadership development and mentoring.
At the same time, I have heard many of you express concerns about certain aspects of Greek life on our campus. Some of you are worried about inequitable access to chapter housing; others of you are concerned about a lack of diversity and inclusion in the Greek system as a whole. And as hard as we have been working on these issues, we continue to hear of hazing, unsafe drinking and drug-use culture, and unsound recruitment practices.
I also understand that our administrative processes for assessing chapters need to be better: our expectations need to be communicated clearly, understood by everyone, and administered in fair and equitable ways.
There is much more to be said on all of these issues, and I look forward to future discussions with you. I am committed to creating a shared process through which all of us – students, alumni, administrators and professional staff – will work together to effect lasting change.
Our shared goal will be to create an outstanding Greek experience that is sustainable and lives up to our high expectations: one that ensures fairness for the extraordinarily diverse students and chapters that constitute our community; one that is proudly supported and enabled by the university and its processes; and one that is embraced and sustained by new student members for years to come.
Your most thoughtful participation in this journey is essential to achieving this. Here is what I propose:
- My office will appoint and convene a small steering committee comprising students, alumni, administrators and professional staff. The steering committee will work with me to guide the design of the following steps:
- The steering committee will hold a series of “think tank” sessions where all Greek chapter officers and members will be invited to share their experiences with the purpose of fully understanding our current landscape and future needs.
- The steering committee will advise me on convening a working group of students and professional staff to recommend solutions to a set of key issues including but not be limited to: 1) a framework for reviewing and evaluating Greek-letter organizations going forward, perhaps in replacement of the current iteration of the Standards of Excellence and 2) a process for chapters to have access to housing.
Additionally, a group of Stanford alumni, who were members of fraternities and sororities while on campus, have volunteered to work directly with our Greek chapters to help define and encourage excellence in our community. I am delighted to announce that Jesse Rogers, ’79, has agreed to convene this group. As a member of the ResX task force, a member of Theta Delta Chi, and a Stanford parent three-times over, he is uniquely positioned to lead this endeavor.
Many of you have raised questions about the future of Greek life in light of the ResX project to design the future of Stanford’s undergraduate residences. It is my intention to continue to have 10 Greek houses on campus, as has been the case for many years. However, given that our community currently includes 26 Greek organizations (many of which are seeking access to housing), we will need to consider how to create a fair and equitable housing allocation process for the future.
Finally, many Greek members have expressed concern over the waning social options on campus today. Though this issue extends far beyond the Greek community, it is entwined with the role of fraternities and sororities on campus. Student Affairs is currently working with a group of student volunteers to address this issue. A recent article in the Roundabout provides a summary of work to date.
My most immediate task will be populating the steering committee and setting dates for the think tank sessions.
I will keep in touch with you, and as always, I am open to your thoughts and feedback.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs